World War I is often called "the Great War." But if movies were our only record, World War II would have the edge. The list of critically acclaimed films about WWII just keeps growing. This week, Christian film critics are raving about director John Dahl's new rescue adventure called The Great Raid. And when they call it "old-fashioned," they mean it as a compliment.
The Great Raid stars Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman) as a brusque colonel, James Franco (Spider-Man 2) as a captain, Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) as a prisoner of war suffering from malaria, and Connie Nielsen (Demonlover) as a courageous nurse.
Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies) is one of few Christian critics with reservations about the film: "The Great Raid is a rousing, patriotic war movie—or at least it tries to be—but beneath the heroics, you can sense a more subversive and resentful sensibility. … While the historical events depicted here were unusual and cause for genuine celebration, the film that depicts these events is a dull, by-the-numbers set of war-movie cliché s—or, worse, since the story concerns three protagonists in three very different circumstances who only barely ever meet each other, the film is more like three sets of war-movie cliché s."
His biggest gripe relates to the portrayal of the Japanese. "Worst of all, unlike truly great prisoner-of-war movies like The Great Escape and Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Raid never tries to get under the skin of the … captors. Sure, the Japanese committed some terrible atrocities, but even the worst offender, deep down, shares some sort of humanity with the victim against whom he commits the offense; you'd never know it, though, from the ...1
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